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Art Is Just Short For Arthur - Lime Lizard, October 1991

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Title: Art Is Just Short For Arthur
Publication: Lime Lizard
Date: October 1991
Writer: Clive Gabriel
Photos: Matt Anker

LimeLizardOct91 (1).jpg LimeLizardOct91 (2).jpg

More written up than written off, the Manic Street Preachers want to be the new Guns 'N' Roses according to Clive Gabriel. Richie meanwhile, finds solace in Rod Stewart.

Many, many column inches have been wasted on the Manic Street Preachers, who are basically four Welsh guys who are affable and amiable but ultimately dressed up with nowhere to go. My editor, not to mention the band's press agent and manager, will expect some more words thrown away on poseurs who wish to make an album to outsell Guns 'N' Roses and feel that they have been let down by all the bands of the '80s.

"The '80s for us, was the biggest non-event ever, like C86. All we had was Big Flame. Big Flame was the most perfect band. But we couldn't play their records 'cos they were too avant garde." Setting the record straight I'd like to explain about Big Flame. Big Flame's attitude was the absolute antithesis to MSP. Big Flame formed in '84 and split up in '86, as promised. They only produced 7" singles. Big Flame produced noise like no other. The Manic Street Preachers live, left me feeling pity for them, especially when they covered It's So Easy.

For the first time I have found writing about a band a tiresome task. I know of no mysteries about that I wish to solve. Their recent history has been well covered. Their Welsh background has been milked for all its human kindness. Lets face it, Wales has nothing to offer, a legacy from the Alarm to the Abs to Gene Love Jezebel. I'll spare any vitriol on the Darling Buds as Andrea once told me she tries very hard on her lyrics and I was so drunk I believed her. Like the Darling Buds, perhaps humour is the only refuge for MSP. The Preachers are also musically weak, they pedal backwards, in a time-warp of Clash (I only mention Clash because every one else within a 200 mile radius of the band playing live has mentioned them) and sad, pathetic, sexist...(I could go on) Guns 'N' Roses. Axl Rose recently tried to beat up one of his fans for taking a photo of him on stage. I fear Richie would would be that fan. Destined to a wasted youth supporting a man who stands for sexism, homophobia and violence. Instead of fighting every Friday night outside a pub in Wales, Richie and his friends, in the name of rock 'n' roll, have taken it upon themselves to form a band and kick ass.

Richie tells me how they have always lived together; in their manager's West London home they take it in turns to share beds so that they don't sleep away from each other for more than one night. Richie explains how their creativity stopped when they left James' bedroom in Wales. I really don't believe any creative process every started.

"We want to be judged on our first album," Richie informs me as he reaches over to the cassette deck, to remove Rod Stewart's Greatest Hits with which he has been torturing me for nearly an hour and proceedings instead to play me demos from their forthcoming LP. Slash 'N' Burn splutters from the speakers like Tango 'n' Cash or Shit 'n' Shovel. I need not bother going into details, well I'd hazard a guess at some Guns 'N' Roses b sides, but thankfully I haven't heard any. Have I mentioned the name of Guns 'N' Roses enough times just to make it clear how much I hate that band?

Thankfully, after what seems like an eternity, the tape stops and Richie explains how he see the future of this band's short career. I'm on the edge of my seat now, I can see a way out, will they split up before I have to write this article?

"If the album sells and sells (probably, I have no faith in humanity) we will tour until people are bored, and then that goodbye. Or if it doesn't sell, (there is hope gig-goers) and no one gives a fuck, (I smile at this point but he doesn't notice) we go back home, no difference."

"Music has never done anything" Richie informs me again (sorry I'm tired of this already) "It's just entertainment, That's why we love Kylie, cos all she has to do is look brilliant and make pop singles. And that's all she does, that's all music should be. You go into the Underworld and there are ten bands all having drinks together. I don't think its very healthy." Well I've seem a few dirty glasses and some nasty hangovers, but what do you mean? Do I spot some jealousy, don;t you have any friends to drink with?

"They are all mates, yeah. It's too healthy. Universal love is fine after things have changed but not right now."

I think Richie has been taking Everett True's porkies rather seriously, I've never actually seen Miki snogging Mark Gardener.

I wonder if the band had ever supported any bands that they liked? "In Bristol last time, we supported Cranes, so God knows what they thought of us, so when we played again the whole town stayed away." Bristol I love you.

Later, as I wander around the Fulham Hibernian in boredom, I notice the vast number of guest passes. This is a direct result of MSP being on Sony. Someone turns up with a Chesney Hawkes promotional T-shirt covering his middle-age spread. As I gaze over the balding heads towards the stage, the band start You Love Us and all I cam think of is that Irn Bru advertisement that has rock starts prancing around declaring 'lurve'. That's a piss-take and this is a joke. The aforementioned Guns 'N' Roses' It's So Easy is delivered and as I leave I relinquish all my review notes for an honest opinion aired by a young guy in a Silverfish T-shirt. He declares to his mate "That was fucking shit!"

Countless front covers and several hundred column inches wasted, as two Silverfish fans say all that has been left unsaid.